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Ssireum: Approaching the Korean Wrestling


Thabata Telles ,

University of São Paulo, BR
About Thabata

Thabata Telles is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of São Paulo (EEFERP/FFCLRP) and the University of Paris (URP 3625 I3SP). She is a psychologist (MSc and PhD in Psychology) and her main research consists of exploring martial arts and combat sports through a phenomenological approach, with particular interest in embodiment and perception-action processes. She is currently the president of the Brazilian Association of Sports Psychology (ABRAPESP).

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Cristiano Barreira

University of São Paulo, BR
About Cristiano

Cristiano Barreira is Dean (2017-2021) at the School of Physical Education and Sport of Ribeirão Preto of the University of São Paulo (EEFERP/FFCLRP), where he is Associate Professor. As a psychologist, his main research interest is classical phenomenology, martial arts and combat sports studies, developing key concepts to operate a phenomenological empirical investigation, and to understand combat phenomena.

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The objective of this paper is to present and discuss the practice of ssireum, or Korean wrestling. The practice is a short-range combat sport where fighters are linked through a belt (satba) that each holds in order to throw the opponent down. Our study employs a method based on phenomenology to comprehend the experience of practicing ssireum through intertwinement. It also considers its history and definition, as well as the descriptions of a technical research visit carried out in South Korea in 2019. Descriptions were made considering perceptual processes and also gender issues that arise from practical experiences with ssireum. We claim that ssireum should be replicable in non-Korean environments, and could be developed as an important tool to promote engagement in fighting activities and broaden cultural diversity through embodied knowledges.

How to Cite: Telles, T. and Barreira, C., 2020. Ssireum: Approaching the Korean Wrestling. Martial Arts Studies, 10, pp.98–107. DOI:
Published on 17 Nov 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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